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I know how Ross feels, but he’ll be back: Caddell

By Graham Luney

Declan Caddell has sent a ‘get well soon’ message to his Crusaders team-mate Ross Holden after the youngster suffered a horrific head injury on Wednesday night.

The 18-year-old was left with a fractured eye socket following a nasty collision in the first half during the 4-3 League Cup win at Portadown and Caddell knows how his pal is feeling after suffering a similar injury five years ago.

Ross, a talented winger who has played for the Northern Ireland Under-18 side, was dazed after challenging for the ball with Portadown goalkeeper Chris McGaughey following a corner in the 33rd minute, and his injuries were so severe he had to be taken to Craigavon Area Hospital at half-time.

The youngster, who also has swelling and bruising where the impact occurred, stayed in hospital overnight and doctors will continue to assess the damage. However, it appears certain he will be sidelined for much of the rest of the season.

It’s a horror moment for Ross, whose father Albert played for Crusaders and Cliftonville, and his mum Janice would like to sincerely thank supporters for their kind get well messages.

Caddell said: “I suffered a broken eye socket, cheekbone and jaw just a few weeks before we were due to play Fulham in the Europa League.

“It was a friendly against Bangor when I went to head the ball and the goalkeeper got there first and hit me.

“I played on but the physio said I was going to hospital at half-time.

“I was out for four months but I came back too early as I should have been out for six to eight months.

“I rushed back after having four plates put in. The pain can be awful and you can’t eat solid food for weeks as you can’t use your muscles.

“I’ve spoken to Ross and he’s staying in high spirits.

“He’s a young lad and he will come back from this. He’s got so much potential and we see him do things in training that even Gavin Whyte can’t do.

“It’s a very unfortunate thing to happen, if your timing is out by a millisecond it can be very serious.

“Depending on how serious the injury is, his season could be over, but we hope to see him back as soon as possible, going past players in the way only he can do.”

Ross remained conscious during the incident but he banged the pitch in pain after the collision. Crusaders media officer Michael Long said: “We have spoken to Ross’s mum Janice and she has told us that Ross has spent the night and most of the day in hospital but was hoping to be out soon.

“X rays have revealed that he has a fractured eye socket but nothing can be done until the bruising and swelling has reduced but is not considered as serious as first thought.

“He has been referred to the Ulster Hospital next Monday where a further decision will be made on the injury. Ross is grateful of the messages of support that he has received and wishes to thank everyone who has been in contact with himself personally and with the club.

“On behalf of the club once again keep the head up Ross and be back soon stronger and fitter than before. Ross is a quiet, unassuming lad, but he actually created an assist for the Marcio Soares goal and for this to happen is just terrible. He’s a player who has a lot of self-belief and he will come back stronger.”

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